Insurance for Your College Child

When you’re getting ready to send your kid to college, your insurance needs may change. Here’s a quick list of the types of insurance you’ll want to look at and potentially alter:

– Health insurance: Most colleges offer optional student health coverage – buy it if it’s inexpensive. This coverage enables your college student to access convenient care at the student health center. (Let’s face it: The more convenient the care is, the more likely he’ll be to get the care he needs right away.)

– Don’t rely on student health insurance exclusively, though – it’s usually not that strong. Continue major medical coverage on your child as well, for the big stuff.

– Car insurance: Most insurance companies give a 10 percent to 25 percent discount for a B average or better, and another 30 percent to 40 percent (or more) discount if the student is attending college over 100
miles from home and has no car at school. Ask for the good student and distant student discounts.

– You can eliminate all charges for your student while she’s at school if she surrenders her driver’s license. Just get a receipt and send it to your agent. This idea is especially good if your child has recent tickets or
accidents that are driving your insurance rates sky high. If she comes home for the summer, she can then reactivate her license for three months. You’ll have saved a bundle on insurance costs in the interim.

– Personal property: Most homeowner’s policies extend your homeowner’s contents coverage to your child’s belongings at school. Most policies stop coverage after 45 days without occupancy (meaning, your
kid can’t leave the stuff unattended for the summer and still have it covered by insurance, but he can leave it over Christmas break). If he isn’t spending the summer at school, bring the stuff home or store it.

– If your kid has expensive valuables or an expensive laptop computer, those items can be scheduled on your homeowner’s policy for the best possible insurance – covering everything from breakage to soda spilled on the keyboard.

– Your liability for your kid’s apartment: Many college students, especially after a year or two, opt for an apartment off-campus rather than a dorm.

– Do not cosign a lease to help your kid qualify for the apartment. Sign a rent guarantee instead, which guarantees that you’ll make the rent payment if your student doesn’t. Being a cosigner makes you potentially suable for everything that goes on in that apartment (like serious injuries at college parties).

– If you’ve already made the mistake of cosigning the lease for your college student’s apartment, buy some liability coverage for yourself. Adding the apartment to your homeowner’s and umbrella liability policies should only cost about $20 a year.